Today would have been Prince’s 60th birthday. Warner Bros. Records and the Prince estate are marking the occasion by swinging the vault doors wide open. Following such posthumous releases as the “Nothing Compares 2 U” single, the expanded Purple Rain, and the Prince 4Ever collection with one unreleased track, Warner Bros. has just announced an archival album to be released on September 21 in CD, LP, and CD/LP Deluxe formats, as well as digitally.
Piano & A Microphone 1983 – a nine-track, 35-minute album – features a previously unreleased home studio cassette recording of the solo Prince at his piano in that epochal year. “This raw, intimate recording, which took place at the start of Prince’s career right before he achieved international stardom, is similar in format to the Piano & A Microphone Tour that he ended his career with in 2016,” said Prince Estate entertainment adviser Troy Carter.
Many of the tracks on this rehearsal tape will be familiar from later versions to Prince fans and collectors. “17 Days” and “Purple Rain” would be released in 1984. “Strange Relationship” emerged in 1987 on the artist’s Sign “O” The Times album, and “International Lover” was heard on 1999. Prince also put his personal stamp on Joni Mitchell’s Blue standard “A Case of You” long before he included it on 2002’s One Nite Alone…, and went even further back with his recording of the 19th century spiritual and folk classic “Mary Don’t You Weep.” His take will be featured during the end credits of Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman in theaters this August. Tracks 1-7 are presented in a seamless medley format as originally recorded by Prince. The final two tracks have been previously shared in collectors’ circles, but will doubtless appear here in higher quality than ever before.
The striking cover photo was shot by photographer and Prince’s close collaborator Allen Beaulieu backstage at the 1999 tour. The deluxe CD/LP edition will include a 12-inch booklet featuring new liner notes written by Prince’s then-engineer Don Batts, as well as candid photos of Prince including some never before published. Fans who pre-order the album via digital download will immediately receive an Instant Grat download of “Mary Don’t You Weep”. You can listen to the track here.
Full pre-order links are not yet available, but we will be filling in as soon as the links go live. Piano & A Microphone is due on September 21 from NPG/Warner Bros.!
Prince, Piano & A Microphone 1983 (NPG/Warner Bros., 2018)
- 17 Days
- Purple Rain
- A Case of You
- Mary Don’t You Weep
- Strange Relationship
- International Lover
- Cold Coffee & Cocaine
- Why The Butterflies
Recorded at Kiowa Trail Home Studio, Chanhassen, Minnesota in fall 1983
Track 1 later recorded and released as the B-side to “When Doves Cry” (Warner Bros., 1984)
Track 2 later recorded and released on Purple Rain: Music From The Motion Picture (Warner Bros., 1984)
Track 3 is a cover of the Joni Mitchell song from her album Blue (Reprise, 1971). Prince later recorded this song for One Nite Alone… (NPG, 2002)
Track 4 is a cover of the 19th century spiritual. To be featured in the end credits for Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman (2018)
Track 5 later recorded and released on Sign “O” The Times (Paisley Park/Warner Bros., 1987)
Track 6 previously recorded and released on 1999 (Warner Bros., 1982)
Track 7 intended for early pressings of Purple Rain